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Martin Luther King Jr.

January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968 ·


I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1967) ·

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. There comes a time.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1955) ·

The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. That's all.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1955) ·

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1955) ·

If you have weapons, take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek to get them. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1956) ·

I feel that segregation is totally unchristian, and that it is against everything the Christian religion stands for.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1956) ·

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1958) ·

Today it is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or nonexistence.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1959) ·

The absence of freedom is the presence of death. Any nation or government that deprives an individual of freedom is in that moment committing an act of moral and spiritual murder. Any individual who is not concerned about his freedom commits an act of moral and spiritual suicide.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1959) ·

We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1957) ·

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. It is the lifting of a burden or the canceling of a debt.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1957) ·

We have adopted in the modern world a sort of a relativistic ethic... Most people can't stand up for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. See, everybody's not doing it, so it must be wrong. And since everybody is doing it, it must be right. So a sort of numerical interpretation of what's right.

But I'm here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. Eternally so, absolutely so. It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong. It's wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it, it's wrong. It always will be wrong, and it always has been wrong. It's wrong in every age and it's wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute.

- Martin Luther King Jr. (1954) ·

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.